Many people wonder why the Okavango River is really worthy of mention until they come to see for themselves the spectacular heritage that attracts millions to Namibia. Interestingly, the Okavango Delta has been named by UNESCO as an official heritage site, being the 1000th to be selected and inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. The river has been described as a true natural wonder owing to the fact that it flows in the middle of a desert and is an attraction to abundant wildlife. The Okavango River is described as the fourth longest river in all of Southern Africa. The river is shared by three countries as it runs through central Angola, then Namibia, and the Kalahari Desert. The Okavango Delta is at the northern edge of the Kalahari Desert.
HISTORY BEHIND THE OKAVANGO DELTA RIVER
The areas around the Okavango River have been inhabited by humans for as far as 100 000 years. The Okavango Delta is a natural formation that occurred over 50 000 years ago and is said to have been caused by an earthquake. This resulted in the spillage of the Okavango River into the desert. The river supports the people providing them with water for their livestock, filled with abundant fish. The people engage in the fishery and subsistent agriculture as a means of livelihood.
WHY IS THE OKAVANGO RIVER SPECIAL?
In the natural sense, the Okavango River Delta is not logically expected to exist because, unlike most Deltas, it sits on an 18 000 square kilometer wetland in the middle of a very dry desert. About 2 million years ago, the river naturally flowed through Botswana and drained into the Makgadikadi, as reported by historians. However, the massive earthquake, which is said to have occurred about 50 000 years ago, may have been the cause for the disruption in the flow of the Okavango River, hence, causing the water to flow into the dry lands rather than the sea. This hence has become a monumental sight to see as it has created a natural oasis which is known as the Okavango Delta.
ECOSYSTEM FOR WILDLIFE
The Okavango River has become a home for the abundant wildlife in the desert area, both animals and birds. An appreciable amount of crocodiles, hippopotamus tiger fishes, and kingfishers enjoy this suitable ecosystem. The Delta area is capable of expanding over 16 000 square km during the peak of the flooding and occupying a large part of the area. As a result, the wildlife retreats into the region and congregate at the edge when the water levels drop.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT?
It is advisable to visit when the floods are minimal. This will give you the opportunity to capture the beauty of this natural wonder, and this falls between May and October. The wildlife comes out in their numbers, and the glimpse of this is extremely beautiful as the hippos puff their heads and the birds perch on the trees.
FUN ACTIVITIES YOU CAN ENJOY
Visitors have the opportunity to experience game viewing, birdwatching, fishing, and photography. The night drives, as well as walking the safari, can be worth the trip. You also get some of the most comfortable and luxurious lodges and camps during your stay while you enjoy Africa at its untamed best.
THREATS TO THE OKAVANGO DELTA RIVER AND ITS ECOSYSTEM
One of the main threats to the Okavango Delta River is climate change. Changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events can alter the hydrology of the delta and disrupt the breeding and migration patterns of its resident species. Climate change can also contribute to the spread of invasive species, which can outcompete native plants and animals and disrupt the ecosystem balance.
Human activities also pose a significant threat to the Okavango Delta River. Agriculture, livestock grazing, and urbanization can lead to habitat loss and fragmentation, soil erosion, and pollution of waterways. Uncontrolled hunting and poaching can also threaten wildlife populations and disrupt the ecological balance of the delta.
Overuse of water resources is another significant threat to the Okavango Delta River. As human populations continue to grow in the region, there is increasing pressure on water resources, which can lead to water scarcity, reduced water quality, and further degradation of the ecosystem.
To address these threats, conservation efforts are needed to protect the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the Okavango Delta River. This includes sustainable land use practices, responsible tourism development, and water management strategies that prioritize ecosystem health and community livelihoods.
Q: What is Okavango Delta River?
A: The Okavango Delta River is a large inland delta system located in Botswana, southern Africa. It is one of the chief deltas in the ecosphere and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Q: What is the significance of the Okavango Delta River?
A: It is a unique and biodiverse ecosystem that provides a habitat for a wide range of plants and animals. It also supports the livelihoods of local societies and is a major tourist attraction.
Q: How was the Okavango Delta River formed?
A: The Okavango Delta River was formed by the Okavango River, which originates in Angola and flows southwards into Botswana. The river spreads out into the delta, creating a maze of channels, islands, and lagoons.
Q: What kind of biota can be found in the Okavango Delta River?
A: It is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, and over 400 bird species.
Q: How can I visit the Okavango Delta River?
A: Visitors can access it by road, air, or water. Many lodges and camps offer guided safaris and boat tours of the delta.
Q: What are some popular activities to do in the Okavango Delta River?
A: Some popular activities in the Okavango Delta River include game drives, walking safaris, mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) rides, birdwatching, and cultural tours.
Q: How is the Okavango Delta River being protected?
A: The Okavango Delta River is being protected through various conservation efforts, including the establishment of protected areas such as Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site, community-based conservation initiatives, and research and monitoring programs.